Chicago sees decline in murders, other violent crimes for second straight year

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By Tim Stelloh

Chicago recorded fewer murders in 2018 than last year, authorities said Monday, a tally that marked the city’s second year of declining homicides after a surge of violent crime in 2016.

The Chicago Police Department said there was a 27 percent decline in murders in 2018 from 2016 — approximately 557 murders this year — when the city recorded a staggering 762 homicides.

There were 648 murders in Chicago in 2017, the department said in a news release.

Chicago Police work the scene after a gunman opened fire at Mercy Hospital on Nov. 19, 2018.David Banks / AP file

The department also recorded declines in shootings, robberies, burglaries, car thefts and car-jackings in 2018, the release said. It did not say whether rapes had fallen or increased.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has previously said that “emboldened offenders who acted without a fear of penalty from the criminal justice system” were behind the 2016 crime spike.

The Chicago Tribune reported Monday that Johnson attributed the recent declines to improved technology, more involvement from federal authorities in gun crimes and efforts to rebuild community trust.

“Are we where we want to be? Of course not,” he said, according to the newspaper. “I do think we are taking steps in the right direction.”

Despite the decline, Chicago still recorded considerably more homicides in 2018 than New York City, where authorities reported 283 murders between January 1 and Dec. 23.

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